Why Amazon is making me love eBay all over again
I have had a small business on eBay for more than 10 years selling primarily infant goods.. security blankets and the like. It was a fun little side job. Nothing I could support myself fully with but I did okay. After my husband died I tried going back to work full time, but it didn’t work out. For my part, it was just too soon and I was still running the business and trying to navigate my way through widowhood and reaching the end of cancer treatment. On the employer’s part they
kind of blatantly misrepresented the job. After spending 3 months doing nothing but filing and moving large stacks of charts around while mainlining Ativan just to get through the day, I decided to quit and work on building my little business. I took a leap of faith and the remaining chunk of life insurance to buy inventory and started looking into other venues to sell. Bonanza and 11 Main synced nicely with eBay and required very little effort on my part. Etsy was great for selling the vintage toys I had on hand and leaving my store for the new gift items. Then I decided to try Amazon. I am a long time customer, have had great customer service (as a buyer) and it was very easy to set up store. Most of the items were already in the catalog and it was free to list, unlike eBay, though their final value fees make up for it. I did pretty well for a while. Even sold a few large ticket items and had 100% customer service rating. Recently I sold a turntable that had never been used. Packaged it up nicely and had UPS pick it up. Apparently it was drop kicked across a few states and arrived broken. I immediately offered a full refund on return, including return postage. The poor buyer apparently did not understand simple directions and instead of using the prepaid label, he opened an A-Z claim. aka.. the kiss of death for a small 3rd party seller on Amazon. After reviewing our messages the case was closed in my favor. Should have been the end of story, right? No. Because I am small volume that ONE case knocked me out of play in my main category for the holiday selling season. Understandably, I lost my shit and began emailing customer service. I knew it would get me nowhere but if I could be a small thorn in someone’s side for a few weeks it would help fill the time that could have been spent shipping orders that I was no longer receiving. Every CS I spoke to agreed that my poor customer metrics would “fall off” in time to sell, which I knew was not true. Then, because the customer ended up sending the package back via USPS instead of UPS, spending twice what it should have been, I did not reimburse his return shipping and he left me a negative review. Coffin. Final nail. And..UPS won’t entertain the thought of an insurance claim because “how do we know the damage didn’t happen on the way back via the post office”? Don’t worry, UPS. Your dedicated blog is in the works. Amazon, in the meantime, has been bombarding me with an invitation to use FBA, which would require me packaging up and shipping all my inventory to their warehouse (admittedly tempting) but would be so cost prohibitive that I would make little to nothing.
At least I could still expect good customer service on the buying end. I was expecting family for a month and had purchased a sofa bed. The day it was delivered it did not fit down the stairs to the room it was intended for. I sent it back and having only 2-3 days to find something else I turned to Amazon Prime. I found a decent foam bed that could be delivered in 2 days. Ordered, bought bedding and waited. It. never. arrived. No notification it would be late. No apology. By the time it came, a week later, I had borrowed something else and refused delivery. Strike 2 Amazon.
After my selling fiasco I had already decided that eBay would get more of my business and had ordered a sleeping bag for a visiting toddler. Imagine my surprise when it arrived in an Amazon box. Amazon’s FBA promises discreet shipping when you sell on other venues as well, which is clearly untrue. Strike 3
Recently I decided to upgrade my Kindle tablet. I sent the old one back as a trade in. Excellent condition. I noticed that the leather jacket I purchased was not an item that could be traded in and in fact was no longer sold. I tried listing it and saw that the selling fees would be roughly 50%. That is not a typo. That baby is listed on eBay as we speak. Strike 4.
They have had my Kindle for nearly 3 weeks and when I questioned when I could expect credit I received an email that it might be lost (it tracks as delivered and processing) and to give them a little more time. Strike 5.
Really Amazon? Did I win some jacked up lottery?
My question to any Amazon employee who happens to stumble across this is why am I being held to a higher customer service standard than Amazon is? My metrics were 100% across the board until one incident that was 100% out of my control. Your customer service has been abysmal. What gives? Anyone?